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Jun 20 2012

An unsurprising case of plagiarism

I’ve noticed this before, and I’m sure many of you have, too: you can often take creationist comments, especially when they’re lengthy, run them through a google search, and discover that the were lifted wholly from some other source. If you read the creationist literature for any length of time, it really begins to sound all alike, because what they’ll often do is cobble together their treatises by lifting whole paragraphs and pages from previous creationist tracts. It’s the kind of thing where, if they did it as a student in my class, they’d get an automatic fail, especially since they rarely bother to include attributions.

Here’s another similar case: Hamza Tzortzis, the Muslim creationist, wrote a critique of Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Guess what? It’s a copy-pasted pastiche of an article by William Lane Craig. The original Craig review was pretty bad, but running it through a copier a few times just makes it worse.

31 comments

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  1. 1
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Hamza Tzortzis? And I thought he was your buddy after all those exchanges at the Atheist Convention last year.

  2. 2
    jonnyscaramanga

    In my experience marking essays, it’s the less bright students that plagiarise. And, well…

  3. 3
    anteprepro

    Creationists seem to be the greatest fulfillment of Voltaire’s Prayer that I can even imagine. If someone came up with a fictional group that was just as farcical as creationists are, it would instantly ruin any viewer/reader’s suspension of disbelief. I mean, there is just no way you could get a group of people that misguided, arrogant, thick-headed, incompetent, sleazy, and outright stupid. It’s just unrealistic! And yet here they are: Walking, talking, mouth-breathing real-life human beings, sinking into the depths of human stupidity and finding that there is always a few more miles to go.

  4. 4
    Alex

    It’s a copy-pasted pastiche

    The pastiche is a totally legit postmodern stylistic device. It’s ironic and completely meta. Putting references would ruin it completely.

  5. 5
    Matthew Pocock

    It’s always entertaining when creationists copy-paste-bomb discussion boards – my standard response is to reply with a link to where they blatted it from perhaps with a #copypastefail. There’s no point responding to points raised – half the time the creationist content-replicator hasn’t read or understood the content, just saw that it included some magical words they recognised that may be related to the topic or their wish to proselytise.

  6. 6
    Thomas Lawson

    So a Cdesign Proponentsist has a parrot on his shoulder? Shocking!

  7. 7
    Alex

    There’s no point responding to points raised – half the time the creationist content-replicator hasn’t read or understood the content,

    Of course not – also, in the case at hand, the creationist defense usually entirely consists of lecturing about WLCs credentials, how many atheists he has crushed in debates with his superior intellect etc.. without touching upon the rather paltry contents like the Kalam fucking argument. I would be surprised if we didn’t find a specimen of that sort in this very thread.

  8. 8
    Q.E.D

    Anteprepro @ 3

    QFT. If creationsist didn’t exist and you wrote a fiction piece featuring creationsist as they are your editor/publisher would say: “your creationists lack verisimilitude, the reader is never going to buy that these people are that crazy en masse

  9. 9
    laurentweppe

    the rather paltry contents like the Kalam fucking argument

    Don’t badmouth Kalam.
    *
    I once used Kalam as a pseudonym for fun on a board parasited by far right “Messa Real True Christian™” Trolls.
    Predictably, the local wankers -who all pretended to have superior knowledge in fucking everything by virtue of being good ol white christian boys & girls- immediately jumped on me: they somehow recognized that Kalam sounded somewhat arabic, therefore I was necessarily some sort of repulsive muslim “baby-fucker” who lusted after their daughters and wanted to turn the Western World into a hellish dictatorship where pure white superior humans would be exterminated and replaced by half-breed slaves.
    *
    Of course, they never heard of the Kalam Argument: anything -even remotely- dialectic would have hurt their poor little brains which were already strained enough by the enormous effort required to find new ways to boast about their self-proclaimed superiority.
    *
    So that makes it one of my words: it’s like a magic revealer of the absolute fatuity of the worst humanity has to offer.

  10. 10
    Alex

    Thanks laurentweppe, that’s good to know!

  11. 11
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    A totally legit postmodern stylistic device is the pastiche. Ironic and completely meta is it. Ruin it completely would putting references.

  12. 12
    Glen Davidson

    But they can’t rely on facts and good thinking.

    I mean, even without the plagiarism it all starts to sound the same partly because it’s all a package of propaganda that works at a time.

    The plagiarizing barely makes it worse, although it’s comical that such sad tripe isn’t even well understood by most of its victims supporters.

    Glen Davidson

  13. 13
    Alex

    The existence of intelligent life depends upon a conspiracy of initial conditions which must be fine-tuned to a degree that is literally incomprehensible and incalculable

    Ceci n’est pas un argument.

    A a and be conditions conspiracy degree depends existence fine-tuned incalculable incomprehensible initial intelligent is life literally must of of that the to upon which

    Argument ceci n’est pas un.

  14. 14
    earlycuyler

    Why waste all that time with copy and paste when there’s this?
    http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/

  15. 15
    myeck waters

    I just put that wisdonofchopra link up on facebook, so all six of my friends can benefit from it too. Thanks.

  16. 16
    Pierce R. Butler

    laurentweppe @ # 9: Don’t badmouth Kalam.

    Or anyplace else famed for a zoo.

  17. 17
    a3kr0n

    Pretty soon the only thing they’ll have left is violence, which has been a pretty effective membership recruitment tool in the past…

  18. 18
    Owlmirror

    they somehow recognized that Kalam sounded somewhat arabic

    More Arabic to racist-bait…

    Salaam
    Kafir
    Isa ibn Maryam
    Al-kuhul
    Al-jebr
    Kitab
    Al-fisfisa

  19. 19
    'Tis Himself

    What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding #11

    A totally legit postmodern stylistic device is the pastiche. Ironic and completely meta is it. Ruin it completely would putting references.

    Yoda has graced us with his presence.

  20. 20
    kevinparker

    I always wonder why there are so many creationist websites since they all have pretty much the same content.

  21. 21
    laurentweppe

    @kevinparker:

    That’s called sockpuppeting

  22. 22
    rayndeonx

    Not surprising.

    The majority of Sunni Muslim apologetics rarely if ever rise above the level of Ray Comfort and crew. The arguments are banal, laughably false, or are C&P bombs from more impressive sounding apologists like W.L. Craig and what not. The only people impressed with them are the sort who would find charlatan hacks like Zakir Naik remotely convincing.

    The only decent philosophy and apologetics that even occurs in Islamic circles anymore is, ironically, among Shia Muslims, who had continued to maintain a relatively strong tradition of philosophical discourse, albeit one based primarily on Hellenic philosophy. Sunni Muslims have by and large dropped philosophy alogether – why is unclear; some point to al-Ghazali’s seminal Tahafut al-Falasifa (Incoherence of the Philosophers), but I am not entirely convinced by this.

    Whatever the case, Islamic “apologetics” is by and large banal and laughable. There are some analytic Muslim philosophers here and there in philosophy, but they are few and far between.

  23. 23
    strange gods before me ॐ

    you can often take creationist comments, especially when they’re lengthy, run them through a google search, and discover that the were lifted wholly from some other source.

    Economists too.

  24. 24
    Rip Steakface

    @23

    Might want to ask Tis Himself about that.

  25. 25
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

  26. 26
    Sili

    Two independent theologians write identical reviews? It’s a miracle! GAWWWD has been working his wonders through these divine vessels!

    Now we just need to find another 68 and we have ourselves a new Septuagint.

  27. 27
    aidenlambert

    Is it too obvious to point out that the plagiarists seem unable to um, create? Ironically, their not having the ability to create for themselves leads them to make slight changes to existing material. To improve it. To bring it forward. To evolve it.
    Sweet, sweet Irony.

  28. 28
    geoffshorts

    Nothing quite like the pleasant surprise of seeing 1,600 hits on one’s blog – about 1,550 more than I normally get per day :)

    My thanks to PZ for the publicity and for everyone who had a read. You might also enjoy my critique of Hamza’s article linking liberal societies legalisation of pornography to rape.

  29. 29
    stevencarr

    Here are some more William Lane Craig quotes to horrify you :-

    ‘….God loves Heinrich just as much as He loves you and so accords him sufficient grace for salvation and seeks to draw him to Himself. Indeed, God may have known that through the guilt and shame of what Heinrich did under the Third Reich, he would eventually come to repent and find salvation and eternal life.

    Paradoxically, being a Nazi may have been the best thing that happened to Heinrich, since it led to his salvation. Of course, one may wonder about those poor people who suffered in the death camps because of Heinrich.

    But God has a plan for their lives, too…’

    I wonder if any of the people sent to death camps ever thought that God’s plan for their lives sucked….

  30. 30
    sapphire

    Stevencarr, a similar piece of “logic” from AiG.

    Q. Is it OK to lie to save a potential victim from a murderer?

    A. No. It is never OK to break God’s law by lying. In this case it is doubly wrong since God may have a plan to save the person or God’s plan for that person may be that he dies now by murder. It is a serious thing to thwart God’s plans.

    Lila Rose???

    Anyway it may not be cut and paste that makes all the creationist comment alike – don’t forget their love of rote learning in place of actual thinking and understanding. Seriously, they really do memorise this stuff.

  31. 31
    geoffshorts

    Thanks again for the many, many page views this feature sent my way. Hamza has updated his article to give proper credit to Christian apologists Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, Frank J. Tipler, John D. Barrow, Keith Ward and Roy Abraham Varghese as well as atheist philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong as influencing his thinking on the matter. No Muslim authors were cited.

    You can read my full followup here: http://geoffsshorts.blogspot.ie/2012/06/interfaith-dialogue-revisited-hamza.html

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